It is distributed on the Pacific side of Panama, Colombia and Ecuador, inhabiting different tributaries of the Amazon Basin, as well as Venezuelan rivers such as the Orinoco. It lives in waters with abundant vegetation where it can hide.
It has a long and narrow tail from which two filaments of about 7.5 cm emerge which gives it the name of Palo or Palito fish. It has sexual dimorphism, the male has filaments making a kind of "moustache" on both sides of its mouth and is larger than the female. It has a suction cup-like mouth, like the plecostomus and the golden otonicycle.
The laying of 60-200 eggs, depending on the size of the female, takes place at night in a place chosen by the male. Fertilisation lasts 2-4 hours and once it is finished the male will take care of the clutch without moving from the top of the eggs until the moment of hatching, 6 days later.